April 29, 2011

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Pocono Raceway wins state environmental award

HARRISBURG – Governor Tom Corbett announced that 13 environmental projects from across the state will be awarded the 2011 Environmental Excellence Award.

The projects include abandoned mine drainage reclamation, solar panel installation, and reducing the environmental impact of glass processing.

One project in the Poconos was among the winners: Monroe County - Pocono Raceway

Roughly 4,000 American-made solar panels spread across 25 acres comprise Pennsylvania’s largest solar farm, as well as being the world’s largest-such project at a sports venue. This 3-megawatt (3,000 kilowatt) solar farm was funded without state incentives and largely done as a hedge against increased electricity costs in the post-rate cap era of energy deregulation, which held the potential to increase the annual electric bill at Pocono Raceway by as much as $500,000. The project went online generating electricity in August, 2010. By December 2010, the project had already produced one-million kilowatt hours of electricity and is expected to produce more than 72-million kilowatt hours of electricity in the next 20 years. Beyond meeting the needs of Pocono Raceway, this project will supply enough electricity to meet the needs of 1,000 homes and will displace the production of more than 3,400 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

“These businesses, schools and organizations have demonstrated a commitment to finding new approaches to reduce our impact on the environment,” Corbett said. “I commend them for their efforts, as these projects certainly raise the bar for all citizens, businesses, and organizations to be more environmentally conscious.”

Any business, school, government agency, trade organization, non-profit or agribusiness involved in efforts to promote environmental stewardship and economic development in the state was urged to apply for the award program. Applications were then reviewed in conjunction by the Department of Environmental Protection and the non-profit Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

The award winners were honored last night at a dinner hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, with acting DEP Secretary Michael Krancer offering keynote remarks.

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